Where does morality come from? – My take.

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This topic contains 102 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 1 month, 1 week ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 103 total)
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  • #51891

    Unseen
    Participant

    People may propose anything they like, but that doesn’t make it true.  It helps philosophical theories if they are true.

    Moral systems aren’t true or false. They help us make difficult moral decisions or they don’t.

    Both Kant’s universalisation, and Mill’s utilitarianism, are riddled with problems and inconsistencies.

    That’s proof that they are actual theories. You know, like Newtonian physics or the expanding universe or the wisdom of crowds.

    So, that strongly suggests they’re untrue.

    Like I said, moral systems aren’t true or false. They are helpful or they are not.

    #51892

    Unseen
    Participant

    @ Reg

    Philosophy is not a body of knowledge, though it is taught as if it is, because a university doesn’t know how else to build a course around it and assign credits. This isn’t to say that there’s no worth in studying “the giants.” Still, one can conceivably do valuable philosophy in total ignorance of them. In fact, a fresh start could yield something precious: a totally new approach. I think it’s fairly safe to say that won’t be happening in physics, chemistry, or geology, which are all built on or off of prior knowledge, either by using it or by refuting it.

    Simon is trying to take a scientific approach to moral philosophy. He seems to think that it’s a good thing for a scientific theory to explain things so well that it runs out of problems. Actually, in real life, it’s the opposite. The more we know about physics, for example, the less we know in some ways. Every solution raises new problems.

    Newton’s laws work very well on a human scale, but get dicey quickly as one ventures out into the universe where there are massive objects and where the slowness (yes, slowness) of the speed of light becomes a consideration. Einstein comes along and adjusts Newtonian physics to make it so it works under such extreme conditions. But then, it seems that even the speed of light, a supposed “limit,” can be exceeded. Every solution, a new problem.

    There are still things that keep physicists up at night, like quantum entanglement. WTF?!!!

    Simon’s system explains things (to his mind) so well that there are no problems that cause him to lose sleep at night. He couldn’t think of even one.

    That is very suspicious.

    #51893

    Unseen
    Participant

    Out of interest, how would utilitarianism, or Kantianism, resolve moral dilemmas in ways that are not crude, simplistic, and unrealistic?

    It doesn’t matter, since I admit that because they are real and not reductionist theories, they DO have problems. At best, they offer guidance, though how to apply that guidance can be problematic. For example, in utilitarianism, how to define “the greatest number”? One’s clan? One’s countrymen? All mankind? In Kant’s categorical imperative, we are told basically not to excuse ourselves to do what we wouldn’t want every other person to do under the same set of circumstances. However, sets of circumstances can be very complicated things, such that the categorical imperative isn’t a lot of help. It can also be oversimplified and applied absurdly. “I’m buying and hoarding vintage PEZ dispensers which I’ll sell to finance my kid’s college education. So should you.” (WTF?!!!)

    Probably, there never will be one moral system to rule them all. That may not be a bad thing.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Unseen.
    #51895

    Davis
    Moderator

    Both Kant’s universalisation, and Mill’s utilitarianism, are riddled with problems and inconsistencies.

    They aren’t riddled with problems and inconsistencies. Deontological ethics are challenging, in application, when confronting difficult moral decisions (where a moral law conflicts strongly with your personal interests or comfort). All moral systems except hedonism and a few others do. If there is anything good about deontological ethical systems, is that they are the most consistent possible. I don’t understand how you can read inconsistency at all into deontological ethics.

    Utilitarianism as well is only inconsistent by different interpretations of it. If one strives to apply the rule to the best they can, it won’t be a problem of inconsistency but one of subjectivity and relativism which is an issue in the majority of moral systems.

    #51896

    Davis
    Moderator

    Out of interest, how would utilitarianism, or Kantianism, resolve moral dilemmas in ways that are not crude, simplistic, and unrealistic?

    They aren’t crude, simplistic or unrealistic. Deontological moral systems are complex in moral rule building, that is the opposite of crude or simplistic. They are only unrealistic when pushed to the furthest extreme. Utilitarianism as well is hardly simplistic, developing a matrix to maximise the greater benefit and minimum of fall out, is extremely complex (absolutely not crude). Realistic? Utilitarian ethics are used every day in hospital settings dealing with extremely challenging and life or death situations. I think you Simon, may have a very simplistic, crude and unrealistic understanding of these systems.

    They are simply very challenging. As are all moral systems. How does your moral system solve this without avoiding all the challenges of other moral systems?

    #51897

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Simon’s system explains things (to his mind) so well that there are no problems that cause him to lose sleep at night. He couldn’t think of even one. That is very suspicious.

    You’re right, I misunderstood your question.  You were talking about actual real-life moral questions; I was talking about moral philosophical questions.  All the moral philosophical questions I’ve encountered so far, I’ve had an answer for.  All the ones I haven’t encountered, I don’t know yet.  My system cuts through them like a knife through butter.

    #51898

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    How does your moral system solve this without avoiding all the challenges of other moral systems?

    I can see the point you’re making, or rather, the question you’re asking: the appeal of these faulty moral systems is that they tell us what to do.  We should maximise well being in some way (which I agree with); we should act as if what we do could universalise.  Both of those crude formulations face contraditions and problems.  For example: why are they good?  What makes them good?

    The system I espouse, finally has an answer too: we should follow moral principles or values, and it tells us what they are, and what their goals are, how they work, and in many cases, how they evolved.  The challenge of this system is weighing up the importance of various values that apply in any given situation.

    I think that utilitarianism is on the right track, but “for the greatest number” is a non-starter, since it leaves out a suffering minority.  “For each person affected” is the right answer.  That said, we don’t know what the consequences are, so we can only act with goals in mind, using methods (principles) that are known to achieve those goals.  That’s the best we can do.  Utilitarian calculations of future fitness are a necessary part of morality.  It’s always an imperfect science since we can never predict exactly how things will turn out.

    You may be right about deontology: if that means acting with the best of intentions, I’d go along with it.  I haven’t looked into it.  I don’t know a lot about it.

    #51899

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Like I said, moral systems aren’t true or false. They are helpful or they are not.

    “Helpful” implies “true” or “realistic”.  Humans have morality: how does it work?  That’s what the Kantians and Utilitarians are also trying to work out.

    #51902

    Unseen
    Participant

    Simon’s system explains things (to his mind) so well that there are no problems that cause him to lose sleep at night. He couldn’t think of even one. That is very suspicious.

    You’re right, I misunderstood your question. You were talking about actual real-life moral questions; I was talking about moral philosophical questions. All the moral philosophical questions I’ve encountered so far, I’ve had an answer for. All the ones I haven’t encountered, I don’t know yet. My system cuts through them like a knife through butter.

    Who does the answer satisfy? Mmm… Probably Simon Paynton. Your system is descriptive at best. How does it answer a conundrum some of us are facing: Should I register as a Republican for the upcoming primary in hopes of helping to keep Donald Trump off the ballot, even though I won’t vote for anyone the GOP puts forth for the 2024 election?

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Unseen.
    #51904

    Unseen
    Participant

    Like I said, moral systems aren’t true or false. They are helpful or they are not.

    “Helpful” implies “true” or “realistic”.

    Once again, the dictates of a moral system are advice, not facts, so the result isn’t a truth. There is no constraint on them necessitating they be realistic. Sometimes, there are things we ought to do even if the chance of success is near zero. Unless, of course, one’s standard for success is abysmally low (“At least, I tried.”)

    #51908

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Once again, the dictates of a moral system are advice, not facts, so the result isn’t a truth. There is no constraint on them necessitating they be realistic.

    And once again, for the moral system to give advice that’s worth listening to, the moral system has to be realistic.  You wouldn’t wire a plug according to a false diagram.

    #51909

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Deontological moral systems are complex in moral rule building, that is the opposite of crude or simplistic. They are only unrealistic when pushed to the furthest extreme.

    I think it’s possible that the moral system I have worked out, functions as a version of deontology in its normative scheme.  Evolutionary deontology.  It rejects consequentalism because we can’t know the future.  However, we do act to try and bring about favourable consequences.  A version of utilitarianism is one of its moral principles, aimed at achieving mutual benefit.

    #51910

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Who does the answer satisfy? Mmm… Probably Simon Paynton. Your system is descriptive at best. How does it answer a conundrum some of us are facing: Should I register as a Republican for the upcoming primary in hopes of helping to keep Donald Trump off the ballot, even though I won’t vote for anyone the GOP puts forth for the 2024 election?

    Again, I repeat once more, I was talking about philosophical questions, not real-world questions.  In the case of this conundrum, it remains a conundrum.  Is it a moral question, or a practical one?

    #51911

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Philosophy is not a body of knowledge, though it is taught as if it is, because a university doesn’t know how else to build a course around it and assign credits.

    You could say it’s a system of asking questions.  In order to answer the questions, we need information.

    #51918

    Unseen
    Participant

    Again, I repeat once more, I was talking about philosophical questions, not real-world questions.  In the case of this conundrum, it remains a conundrum.  Is it a moral question, or a practical one?

    I’m lost. Give an example of a philosophical moral question with no practical implications that your system “solves.” Please.

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